Profile: Ali Barta, '11, Founder in Residence

January 27, 2021
Meet our newest Founder in Residence.

How did you start Nuna Med?

Like many companies, Nuna Med began out of a personal search for something better. In my case it was to help manage the frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs) I experience. Not the sexiest of topics to discuss, but considering that one in two women will get a UTI during their lifetime, UTIs are truly a pain point for a lot of people. I started getting UTIs after breaking my back and suffering a spinal cord injury (SCI) in 2014. I have been fortunate to make tremendous strides in my recovery but struggle daily with the repercussions from that incident. Ever since the SCI I have been plagued with frequent UTIs. It got to the scary point that I began developing antibiotic resistance. Long story short, after my mom discussed my challenges with her naturopathic doctor, she recommended I try an herbal tea which her doctor had been using on her patients for several years with an 80% success rate. I was skeptical of the little Ziploc bag of “UTI Tea” my mom sent me but decided to try it, and it has helped me manage my recurrent UTIs. 

I’m someone who can’t resist sharing a good thing, so I licensed the recipe and started building a business around the tea. At the time I was in my first year of a Batten MPP/Darden MBA program at UVA so I was fortunate enough to refine the idea of Nuna Med while surrounded by some incredible colleagues and mentors in graduate school. Then, after school the business launched and thankfully SupporTea’s been helping a lot of people since then. It’s been quite a journey and I am so grateful for all the people who have given it a shot and have contributed to the impact that it has made.


What have you learned along the way?

More than I ever imagined. Honestly, the best advice I was given, and I truly think it’s applicable to far more than entrepreneurship, is “just get started.” It’s so easy to belabor the research phase and ask the “Is it good enough?” questions, but what really matters is action. So, whether it’s writing thank you notes or launching a product on Amazon, I believe that dark cloud of procrastination will haunt you a lot more than a first step toward your goal… momentum is a great motivator.

What are you excited about as you join RSB?

To work with my fellow Spiders! I have always hoped to teach a course at UR since the school has meant so much to me, but I have to admit that I thought I would begin that adventure in my 60s rather than my 30s. I truly cannot wait to help in any way that I can and to encourage and challenge undergrads to be their best selves. It would be great too if some of my life lessons can save them a few years of struggle and make them and the world all the better for it! 

How can students connect with you?

Please feel free to email me and we can set up a time to talk. My email is 

Closing Thoughts

If I had told my senior year self that I would be back on campus ten years later and teaching at Robins I would have never believed it—although I’m not easily intimidated, the whole business school concept was pretty ominous to me. I was an international studies major and leadership minor. That said, for those of you out there who are hesitant, don’t be. Give it a shot because you just might be surprised by how much you like it. There’s so much to learn when you’re out of your comfort zone.